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Jakarta Post

Commentary: Be fearless, Mr. President – like Munir

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie


Jakarta   /   Wed, September 30 2020   /  01:00 am
Activists from the Victims Solidarity Network for Justice (JSKK) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) held the 436th Kamisan, a silent protest held every Thursday to push the government to settle past human rights abuses, across the Presidential Palace on March. 24. The families of the victims rejected government's plan to focus on reconciliation in the settlement of the past violations instead of judicial process to take the perpetrators to court. (Antara/Wahyu Putro)

“I could drown in the ocean / I could be poisoned in the air / I could be killed in the streets / But I will never die / Will never stop.” I always have mixed feelings every time I listen to these lines in “Di Udara” (In the Air), a song that indie rock band Efek Rumah Kaca dedicated to Munir Said Thalib, the fearless human rights defender who was murdered 16 years ago. On the one hand, these lines reflect the tireless struggles of human rights activists and families of the victims and the survivors of human rights violations as they continue to call for the state to fulfill its responsibility in seeking truth and reconciliation. At the same time, I realize that this song might not have been written at all if the government had made sure that justice was served. The reform movement came with a hefty price tag: Dozens of prodemocracy activists were abducte...